To the Editor:
I began reading your article “Report Pans How States Set the Bar” (Oct. 10, 2007) with interest, as I agreed with the premise of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation’s report “The Proficiency Illusion” that the differing measurements by which states determine proficiency under the federal No Child Left Behind Act are an important variable that many seem to ignore. But when I discovered that the Northwest Evaluation Association, the organization responsible for the research for the report, used its computerized assessment, the Measures of Academic Progress, as a basis for comparison between state tests, my interest in the study and the article ended.
The presupposition that this test compares with many state tests is absurd. The students in my school take both the MAP and the MCAS, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System tests, and all one has to do is take a look at a few of the sample questions for each to understand there is very little correlation between the two.
The evidence from the study would appear, then, to be fundamentally flawed. Not acknowledging the source of the research earlier in the article is a mistake I would hope would be avoided in the future.
A version of this article appeared in the November 14, 2007 edition of Education Week